Award-winning wines of the 2008 New Mexico Wine Festival
The Town of Bernalillo held its third annual wine competition of
the New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo at the Hyatt Regency
Tamaya Resort on August 16. The competition was open to participating
festival wineries using New Mexico produce in the making of their
wine. Wineries will have the wine available for purchase at the
festival. The wines were tasted in a blind format and evaluated
on the following criteria: color/clarity, bouquet/aroma, balance/body,
flavors/taste, length/finish, and overall impression.
Award-winning wines received a judging consensus to be eligible
for honors. The judges’ panel was well-rounded and represented
wine buyers from New Mexico premium restaurants and boutiques, wine
growers, wine enthusiasts, and connoisseurs. Mayor Patricia A. Chávez
will formally present top-scoring wines at the festival in Bernalillo
on Sunday, September 1 at 1:00 p.m.
“As one of the founding members of the New Mexico Wine Festival
at Bernalillo, it is a pleasure to continue the competition this
year and see it expand in the number of wineries participating,”
states Mayor Chávez. “The Town of Bernalillo wants
to recognize wineries and winemakers for a long history of winemaking
in New Mexico and of New Mexico fruits. I am impressed with the
professional evaluation and execution of the wine competition, and
pleased with the support of the wineries. This annual competition
showcases the talents of New Mexico wineries, winemakers, and grape
The wine competition awards begin with the top Best of Festival
Medal, which is granted to one wine with the best overall total
score without regard to varietals or category. The coveted honor
goes to St. Clair Zinfandel 2006.
The Judges’ Favorite Medal goes to the wine scoring second
in total points. That honor goes to Matheson Rio Cuveé 2005.
Next are the Best of Class Medals for excellent and outstanding
wine in the following categories: sparking, white, blush, red, and
other wines. Rounding off the competition are the select Gold and
Silver Medals representing all categories and varietals.
THE AWARD-WINNING WINES ARE:
BEST OF CLASS – Sparkling Wine: San Felipe Moscato 2007
BEST OF CLASS – White Wine: Tularosa Vineyards Gewürztraminer
BEST OF CLASS – Blush Wine: St. Clair White Shiraz NV
BEST OF CLASS – Red Wine: D.H. Lescombes Syrah 2007
BEST OF CLASS – Other Wines: Arena Blanca Chocolate Diablo
GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:
•D.H. Lescombes Imperial Kir NV
•Black Mesa Black Beauty NV
•Matheson Docé NV
•Santa Fe Vineyards Zinfandel Port 2005
•Tularosa Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
•Tularosa Vineyards Symphony NV
SILVER MEDAL WINNERS:
•Arena Blanca La Luz Red NV
•Blue Teal Dolcetto 2007
•D.H. Lescombes Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
•Guadalupe Vineyards Gewürztraminer 2007
•Matheson Tres 2006
•St. Clair Reserve Merlot 2006
The 2008 New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo will be held on
Labor Day weekend, August 30, August 31, and September 1 at Loretto
Park in Bernalillo. Visit www.townofbernalillo.org for festival
details and tickets.
I killed a rattlesnake in my driveway last summer, about
a year after my dog, Lalo, was bitten. It was unnecessary, but I
was still angry. Revenge was not sweet though, and I may have incurred
some karmic debt—if only by my own dis-ease in the desert.
Now Lalo is on his leash most of the time from April through October.
I’ve seen a bunch of snakes this summer, mostly big, beautiful
bull snakes. I like them a lot and always stop to move them out
of the road. It’s amazing how compliant most of them are.
Lalo and I both walked right across a four-footer on an Open Space
trail. We almost stepped on a sleeping rattler on our way up Del
Agua trail—he was still there on our way down and paid no
attention to us.
During snake season, I no longer wander around in the desert at
night because that’s when they are most active, hunting during
cooler hours under the cover of darkness.
Last month, my friend Dave Richards stepped out of his house in
the hills north of Placitas Village. He was shaking a flashlight,
trying to make it work, when he felt something hit his ankle. Maybe
noise from the flashlight hid the sound of the rattle until it was
too late. He never saw the snake, but a trickle of blood oozed from
a single fang mark on his ankle. He was in trouble in minutes, but
managed to drive up the arroyo to his neighbor’s house, who
His neighbor drove Dave to the Placitas fire station where he met
the county ambulance fifteen or twenty minutes after the bite. Dave
was already showing signs of shock and was feverish and cramping.
By the time they reached UNM Hospital, his blood pressure had dropped
to a dangerous level and he had lost control of his muscles and
bodily functions. He spent two days in intensive care and it took
over a week to fully recover.
Dave probably suffered an allergic reaction. Most rattlesnake bites
contain hemotoxic elements which damage tissue and affect the circulatory
system by destroying blood cells, skin tissues, and causing internal
hemorrhaging. Baby rattlesnakes have venom which contains more neurotoxic
properties which immobilize the nervous system, affecting the victim’s
breathing, sometimes stopping it.
From the monsoon season through the late fall, rattlesnakes are
on the move and are expanding their hours of operation. Apparently,
they like the high humidity and cooler temperatures and are trying
to put on weight for hibernation.
A couple of days after we heard about Dave, I was with the dogs
on a routine, quarter-mile morning walk to get the newspaper when
a big snake coiled and rattled a few feet away while Lalo happened
to be off the leash. I let out a weird guttural yowl and the dogs
chased me home. My neighbor dismissed my suggestion that we relocate
the snake. He believes in leaving them alone and never sees them
a second time. Rattlesnakes are territorial and often do not survive
The snake probably has a den nearby. He is probably in charge of
controlling rodents in the neighborhood, protecting us from Hantavirus,
maintaining the balance of nature, and scaring us half to death.
Today, my wife encountered the same snake in the same place, so
she took the long way home.
A Google search revealed the following fun facts:
• Eight thousand people suffer poisonous snake bites every
• Nine to fifteen of the victims die.
• The “malevolently handsome” Western Diamondback
is responsible for most bites.
• Small children are most at risk of complications or death
because of their small body size. (Our son grew up playing in arroyos.
If I had known these things, he would have never gotten off the
If bitten, remain calm (yeah, right). Get to a hospital with antivenin
in stock and call first so they can get it ready. Don’t kill
the snake to bring along for identification because the same antivenin
is used for all viper bites. Keep the bite below heart level and
don’t ice it, shock it, cut it, suck it, or isolate it with
a tourniquet. These things can do harm and they don’t know
if they really change the outcome.
If a hospital is not an immediate option, you could be screwed.
But remain calm and keep in mind that few bites are lethally envenomated.
Medical opinion is widely divergent, but some experts recommend
a snug bandage above the bite and a suction device may be placed
over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making
If you encounter a rattlesnake at your home and want to remove
it, it is best not to mess with it yourself. Call somebody who is
experienced to relocate it. Try the fire department—by the
time they arrive, the snake will probably be gone. Most bites occur
while trying to catch, kill, or provoke the snake. (Rattlesnakes
provoke very easily.) Watch your step. Don’t reach into potentially
snake-infested terrain without looking first. Move to Connecticut.
Diamondbacks, besides being threatened by humans, often become
meals for eagles, hawks, roadrunners, wild turkeys, coyotes, foxes,
badgers, or even other snakes. Regarded as an enemy and a threat,
they are sometimes trampled to death by deer, antelope, cattle,
horses, and sheep. No wonder they’re mean!
Dave considers himself fortunate—that the whole experience
was meant to be and actually cured his chronic heartburn. Snake
venom may indeed have a positive side. Snakes have always been feared
and revered by us humans. They play an important role in Southwestern
cosmology, and they keep us mindful of our mortality. Wise men say
you can’t fault a rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake.
Friends of Monument host workshop
Join the Friends of Coronado State Monument on September 20 at
10:00 a.m. for a fun and creative morning decorating your own pueblo
“kiva” ladder. Learn the original use of these ladders
in the pueblo world. Turquoise, fetishes, feathers, dream catchers,
baskets, and natural materials will be available for designing your
special ladder (about eighteen inches tall).
The cost of the workshop, including materials for making one ladder,
is $30. Reservations are required. Contact Linda Vogel at 821-8432
before September 15 to reserve your space. The workshop will last
about two hours.
The workshop will be held at the Sandoval County Historical Society’s
DeLavy House, located on Edmond Road in Bernalillo. From I-25, take
Highway 550 (exit 242) to slightly past the entrance to the Coronado
State Monument; then turn north on the west edge of the Phillips
66 station onto Edmond Road. Signs will be posted.
Coronado State Monument presents J.J. Brody lecture
"An Innocent Arrogance or the Ultimate Chutzpah?—Kuaua-Coronado
Monument” is the title of J.J. Brody, Ph.D.’s presentation
this month to the Friends of Coronado State Monument. The crux of
the presentation will be how and why Coronado State Monument got
its name—considering that the Monument’s primary glories
lie in the seven-hundred-year history of the Kuaua pueblo, while
Coronado’s visit was comparatively short. The lecture promises
to educate, entertain, and provoke discussion.
Dr. Brody is a professor emeritus of art and art history at UNM
and former director of the UNM Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. His
research interests are in ancient and modern Native American art.
The program will be presented by Friends of Coronado State Monument
on September 21 at 2:00 p.m. and will be held at the Sandoval County
Historical Society’s DeLavy House, located on Edmond Road
in Bernalillo. To reach DeLavy House, take Highway 550, slightly
west of Coronado State Monument, turn north on the west edge of
the Phillips 66 gas station and onto Edmond Road. Follow the road
to its end; signs will be posted. The lecture is open to the public;
no reservations are needed. Admission is $5 per person; the lecture
is free to members of Friends of Coronado State Monument.
Sandoval County Fair showcases local talent and wares
The 32nd annual Sandoval County Fair was held from July 31 through
August 3 at the Fairgrounds in Cuba, New Mexico. The Junior Livestock
Sale drew record bids of over $54,500. The Grand Champion Steer
was purchased by Don Chalmers of Don Chalmers Ford for $3,200, a
purchase he has made for the past eight years.
4-H Youth exhibited a record number of entries in indoor exhibits,
including leather craft, ceramics, photography, baking, canning,
horticulture, and others. Senior High Point winner was Anne Meyer-Miner
of Placitas. Christopher Barrios of Rio Rancho won Best of Show
with a photograph of his goat.
New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service extends
special thanks to the Sandoval County Commissioners; Sandoval County
Fair Board; Intel; all buyers, donors, and volunteers who support
the Sandoval County Cooperative Extension 4-H Program; and to Auctioneer
Leroy Lovato of Bernalillo for the success of the sale. For information
on the Sandoval County 4-H program, contact the Cooperative Extension
office at 867-2582.
Native American dancers perform at Jemez Red Rock
The celebration of life through dance
—MARGARET M. NAVA
Tracing their origin to the beginning of time, the Pueblo
people believe their ancestors emerged from the Lower World through
a lake and began a series of migrations that led them to their current
location. Living first in pithouses and later in a series of multi-storied
stone or mud villages, or remote cliff dwellings, these ancient
people gathered wild plants; dry-farmed maize, beans, squash, and
cotton; wove baskets and created ceramic pottery; domesticated turkeys;
and hunted a wide variety of game, including buffalo.
All parts of Puebloan life—the agriculture, hunting, social
customs, and communal life—were viewed as being interrelated
and guided by supernatural forces. Everything depended on something
else and nothing survived without the aid of the gods. In order
to honor all that made up their world, the people performed ceremonial
dances that coincided with the growing seasons, animal migrations,
patterns of nature, the sun, the moon, the clouds, the wind, and
the various stages of life. Some dances were offered as supplications,
others as thanks.
Special clothing and ornamentation was used to increase the effectiveness
of the dances. The skins of deer, bear, fox, and coyote were used,
as were the feathers of turkeys, other birds, and eagles. Cloth
was woven from the fibers of wild plants such as yucca, milkweed,
and cotton. Sandals, sashes, and kilts were fashioned from cedar
bark. Rattles were made from animal bones and hoofs. Whatever beast
or plant was used was honored for surrendering its life-sustaining
force as part of the ceremony.
Of special interest were the body paints, all of which were derived
from natural substances, such as corn smut for black, ochers for
yellow and red, clay for white and pink, and oxide of copper ore
for turquoise. Each color had a special meaning and, depending on
how it was used, carried a special power.
Masks, however, were the most highly developed items worn by the
Pueblo dancers, who believed that the spirits of the supernaturals
whom they portrayed were incorporated into the masks. Ranging in
size from half-mask to full scalloped or terraced headdresses, the
mask could be either very basic or decorated with bits of yarn,
feathers, horsehair, or animal antlers.
In the sixteenth century, Spanish explorers discovered these peaceful
people and named them Pueblo, meaning “city-dweller.“
Setting out to ‘civilize‘ the natives, they introduced
new crops and domesticated animals. But they also prohibited the
practice of any rite or ceremony that conflicted with their concept
of religion. Ceremonial costumes were ripped to shreds, body paints
were destroyed, and masks and headdresses were burned. Although
they continued to dance in secrecy, the Pueblo people allowed themselves
to be subjugated by the Spaniards. But after years of deprivation
and persecution, they joined forces, rebelled, and drove the oppressors
from their land.
The Puebloans were weakened by continued battles, as the Spaniards
fought to regain control. Crops failed, disease ran rampant, villages
were abandoned, and tribal unity fell apart. Twelve years after
the rebellion, a tenuous truce was reached and the Spaniards returned.
At one time, there were as many as one hundred pueblos in northern
New Mexico. Today, only nineteen remain. Although life has changed
drastically from the earliest days, much remains the same. The Pueblo
people still believe that everything in their lives is interrelated
and directed by supernatural forces; they still weave baskets and
craft unique earthen pottery; they still live in villages; and they
In 1931, Erna Fergusson wrote the classic book Dancing Gods,
which not only describes the Indian ceremonials of the Pueblo
people, but also offers valuable advice on viewing their dances.
“The only way to see the . . . dances in their entirety and
done with real reverence is to go to the Pueblos, where they are
danced in the way of the ancients. There you get a sense of the
marvelous strength and cohesion of a people who, through four centuries
of foreign domination, have maintained their ancestral worship.”
Sandoval County is home to seven active Pueblos: Cochiti, Jemez,
Sandia Village, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, and Zia. Throughout
the year, the public is invited to view traditional harvest dances,
feast day dances, corn dances, deer dances, and many others. Like
their ancestors, today’s dancers wear traditional ceremonial
garments, masks, and body paint. And, like their ancestors, they
pay homage to everything that makes up their world. “Most
dances are accompanied by songs or chants sung by a chorus or by
the dancers themselves. Some of the songs are so old that the language
is obsolete and even the singers do not know the meaning of the
sounds. Notched sticks may be rasped against a sounding board or
gourd. Occasionally, bird-bone whistles are heard—shrill notes
about the steady drone of drumbeat and human voice.”
In his book, Pueblo Gods and Myths, Hamilton A. Tyler
observed, “Looking back, the Pueblos have two great assets:
they are still [here]—which is a Herculean feat for any culture—and
they are still dancing.”
For a complete list of dances open to the public, visit http://www.indianpueblo.org
or contact the Pueblo you wish to visit. Unlike powwows or public
performances, these dances are considered religious ceremonies and
as such should be treated with respect and reverence. If you go,
please observe appropriate etiquette, abide by tribal regulations,
and be prepared to witness something truly remarkable.